By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, 30April2014 (BicolToday.com) — Likened to a popular toothpaste brand that is being sold as “new, improved” as marketing gimmick in the last 40 years, the military deal between U.S. President Obama and President Aquino is described as such, a nationalist lawmaker said yesterday.
The new pact forged by Washington and Manila Monday was “a reinvented, new, improved form of military master-slave relationship”.
Obama and Aquino signed Monday the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) designed as “a shield against China offensive posturing”.
“The signing of this new 10-year pact between Washington and Manila would usher in a decade of slavery for the Filipino people who will be forced to again witness rapacious American expansionism and militarization, a decade which will be marked not by increased peace and stability – but rather increased tension and unease,” said Kabataan youth partylist informing online news, Bicol Today.com.
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon lamented the deal is tantamount to 10 years slavery among the Filipino people who will be subjected to US pressure and its foreign security policy implementation.
The full text of the new pact is still kept from public knowledge, however reports say that EDCA – which seeks to expand US military activity in the Philippines through increased rotational presence and the use of extant Philippine military bases – will have a timeframe of 10 years, which means that it will be in effect until April 2024.
“We condemn the railroaded passage of EDCA, which is apparently President Aquino’s welcome gift to his most valued guest, US President Barack Obama. We believe that its hurried passage – without the benefit of public scrutiny – has been heavily influenced by Obama’s visit,” Ridon said.
Militant groups including Kabataan Partylist have earlier criticized the new pact, saying that it would be inimical to Philippine sovereignty.
The partylist lawmaker said EDCA, which the Philippine government sees as a way to boost the country’s defences especially in the light of the ongoing dispute in the West Philippine Sea, will only increase tension in Asia and could even provoke – rather than circumvent – military action from China.
“The threat that Beijing poses for our national security is real and significant, yet it does not necessarily mean that we should allow US military forces unprecedented entry to our military bases and facilities. Claiming to defend national sovereignty from one bully by surrendering it to another bully is simply illogical,” the youth solon explained.
Ridon believes that in the inking of the new defense pact, the Philippines has again been short-changed by the US government.
“Our countrymen do not deserve this new travesty against our national sovereignty. The Aquino administration keeps harping about how this new pact would supposedly shield us from Chinese incursions in our seas, yet a deeper analysis would reveal that such agreement would only advance Washington’s economic and political interests, especially its bid to finally secure China’s support and allegiance,” Ridon explained.
“The US solution is not the answer to the growing unrest in the West Philippine Sea. We have entered into several similar pacts in the past, but did our country benefit from it? Clearly, no. Instead, agreements like the Voluntary Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) only served to further undermine our national sovereignty, drag us to Washington’s wars, and exploit our people and resources,” he added.
The youth lawmaker insisted the new access agreement should definitely undergo public scrutiny through Congress. [BicolToday.com]